Should Sony Make Another Handheld?

Should Sony Make Another Handheld?

This weekend, the PS Vita will officially turn three. Although the system has become a must-have for anyone who's into indies and niche Japanese games, it just hasn't been able to make a splash in a market dominated by iPads and iPhones.

Sony's ambitious PSP successor, which was originally envisioned as a way for people to play console-level PlayStation games on the go, was a commercial flop from the beginning thanks to terrible AAA software support, overpriced memory cards, and all sorts of confused marketing.

Which raises the question: will Sony make another handheld? Should they?

We've sniffed around a bit, but if Sony's got plans to make a Vita successor, they're keeping it close to the chest. Smart money might say they will stick to the mobile market and their red-hot PlayStation 4, but you never know.

So I open the question to you, dear readers: should Sony make another handheld console? If so, what should their goals be? How can they compete with iOS, Android, and whatever 3DS successor Nintendo's got up their sleeves? Give us your smartest takes -- we'll promote the best ones.

Picture: Donald Traill/ AP Images


Comments

    They should do two things, Make it not so good that its not so expensive and that would hopefully make the games not too expensive to both buy and develop.

    Money really is the thing that halts the Vita the most, both for consumers and developers to invest in

      I would settle for a device with bigger screen, and full fledged analogue sticks, L2,R2 buttons and a bigger screen.
      They put too much emphasis on portability.
      I believe they can do so and use the same chipset (with better FAB) and include a bigger battery to make a significantly better device but also cheaper than the original because of less miniaturisation.
      Better controls and a bigger screen will immediately make it the ideal Remoteplay device.

    Considering how poor the Vita has sold, I can't see it happening.

      I agree, but I would love one to be made. Something about having a proper handheld that isn't a phone (has sticks and buttons) and isn't a Nintendo (boxy and toy-like) just clicks with me. Don't get me wrong, phones and Nintendo each have their place, but I think there is a niche for a Sony handheld. The only problem is that it is a fairly small niche and probably not attractive commercially for Sony.

    Any money they want to invest in a new handheld should be reinvested in revitalising the Vita, it is in no means out dated and nobody has really pushed the machine

      Exactly what I was thinking. With the PS4 streaming I think there is still a lot of life left in the Vita console. If they could throw some money around and get more western developers behind it (since there was a LOT of Japanese developers still supporting the Vita today) then it might turn things around

        I think the Vita has a long way to go. Look at the PSP's lifespan! The Vita is only 3 years old (or 5 years old according to Kotaku's article last week).

      Spot on. Slap some $$$ on a new UI and the Vita would be sexy again.

      I <3 my Vita, but can understand why it hasn't taken off.

    I don't think Sony should make another handheld yet. The Vita is a great system for on the go games.

    Its just a shame that Sony seems to be dropping the ball and support on this device because it has so much underutilized potential.

    Yeah the Vita is an awesome little handheld already... I bought two for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3(one to stick mod), and it has things like remote play for PS4. You can see the limitations for things like the backgrounds which are stills(while animated on PS3/360), but it's still really good! In terms of "improvement", the only thing they need to do atm is expand the library, and maybe go the Nintendo route of redesigning the current hardware(like the 3DS laptop format which protects the screen when you close it/making it cheaper)... and they've kind of already done that by getting rid of the OLED in the newer ones, and making PSTV. The Vita isn't as successful as the 3DS, and I think the way to really milk it is to encourage developers by incentives for ports from the PS4 and making a lot of games cross-buy. Seriously... mass cross-buy. Make it happen.

    Considering how they've given up on the vita no they shouldn't. If they want a handheld they should focus on revitalising the vita first as it's still the most powerful handheld on the market. I don't think they understand the handheld industry though, they still want to make portable home console games instead of more handheld orientated games. I didn't enjoy a lot of the vita games because they feel like knock offs of ps3 titles whereas my 3ds has more games that feel built for on the go gaming.

      I don't think they have given up on the Vita but they have realised that doing big games and big marketing campaigns are not cost effective given the size of the market. People think that getting Monster Hunter or something would instantly sell Vitas, but the amount of money Sony would have to pay would make it prohibitively risky. Add to that the probability that Nintendo would outbid Sony to keep exclusivity of any major third-party franchise, and you are left with Sony either developing an expensive AAA spin-off of one of its own IPs, or betting on an unkown new IP. Both have been tried and I think Sony's been burned each time. Granted, two of the games that should have sold Vitas in a big way were criminally executed by Nihilistic. Sony's financial state just won't permit it to continue to have big loss leaders to grow Vita's install base.

        I don't think they need to go after a AAA title though, if you look at some of the 3ds and ds's best titles they are smaller-medium budget games that are designed from the ground up to work on a handheld device. Hell even on vita some of the more popular titles that aren't remake and have worked well are in the same vein. I think it's when they try to do bigger budget cut down versions of home console games that they fail.

        Last edited 22/02/15 9:22 am

    No. They should focus on the Vita more. Mine is just now collecting dust as I've run out of games to play. and retailers are hardly stocking any vita games. Yes I could buy more from the store, but my memory card is full and Sony are hell bent on making their Sony banded cards expensive. Sony should cut their losses and adopt SD cards. Which would need a new system. They said they are more focused on the Playstation brand. Well Sony, show us.

      Check out ozgameshop.com and playasia.com for a great selection of cheap vita everything.

      I've only boughons few vita games in Australia

    Yes, in seven years when the next GameBoy comes out.

    Right now, they need to focus on getting games on it. The indies were a nice start but now they need to pay some 3rd party developers to create some new games.

    The popularity of Persona 4 Golden has proven slightly enhenced PS2 ports are acceptable, they could organise some more of those, while at the same time getting work done on new stuff at that level.

    Mario Kart 7 & 3D Land seemed to pull the 3ds up out of the gutter, why not ask someone to make a new Crash Bandicoot or Jak & Daxter, why not throw some money in Square Enix direction & ask they port a few of those (not free to play) games over from mobiles?
    Final Fantasy IV complete comes to mind (the 3d one) & Dragon quest VIII come to mind.

    Where's a smaller version of Infamous? GTA was fun on PS2, thetly surely can do one at that level?

    I could go on all day, but my point is: you release must have exclusives and people will come. Sony needs to support the Damn thing.

    Yes. But this time they should utilise Android as their OS. They already make a number of Android devices. Merging this with what they've learned from the Vita could result in a very desirable, versitile device. Throw a couple of Sony developed AAA titles into the mix (optimised for Sony's handheld, but available for all modern Android devices) and you've got yourself an instant userbase to offset development costs. Plus, there are already countless casual games on Android to pad out the catalog...if you're into that kind of thing.

    Last edited 21/02/15 11:02 am

    Stick with the Vita, in my opinion lack of backwards compatibility really killed the unit from the get go, add to that the regionalisation of the PSN store and lack of affordable storage and they were going to fight an uphill battle getting the Vita recognised as a competitor to the Nintendo handhelds. I didn't really mind the price of the unit, but major lack of titles, and pushing digital only causes some issues in a handheld with no major storage. Also lack of multiple accounts on one device without formatting is really not a good idea.

    Last edited 21/02/15 11:21 am

    BIG NO! , why? a lot of Japanese move to mobile game now

    3 Years and we're already thinking of a new handheld? Geebus... this is getting as bad as the early console cycle debates.

    With all that power and potential on a Vita it would frankly be stupid to start on a new one right now. Yes Ninty has released a new SKU but since 3DS was still lower on the technology scale on Vita it made sense to try and keep up w/ newer releases. Vita doesn't need that. It needs *games* and support.

    And if Sony should over make a new handheld... they should do themselves a favour and drop the proprietary mem sticks. Just make it compatible w/ their existing SD cards like PSP. Forcing people to dole out more cash for a one trick pony storage puts off a lot of people. Hell I have a cousin who would have grabbed one by now if the damn mem sticks didn't put the price over his budget =/

      it's not talking about a new console release but if sony should be working on a new handheld right now to release in the next 3-4 years I imagine.

    Nope, love my Vita but as far as Sony EU and US are concerned its dead. They barely ever supported it and are a bunch of d***wads.

    My Vita is great for downloading PS1 games but I don't buy current games on it like I do with my 3DS. I never use my iPad for gaming, only browsing, books and comics. It's a pity though cos the Vita is excellently configured, I can't understand why Sony allowed it to fail.

    Nope, please...just no.

    Make more sidescrollers and awesome games.

    Some games are rediculous, not worth paying for. Phone games are even better. Lol.

    From reviews of Borderlands and Black Ops II it seems like the PSV can't handle a first person shooter which frankly puts potential buyers like myself off - it looks like amazing tech but if it's supposed to be a hardcore alternative to 3DS and smart phones yet not play the most basic hardcore game - then what is the actual point?

      Check out Killzone Mercenary - it's amazing, and what FPS on the Vita should always have been. Blops Declassified and Borderlands 2 were 'meh' (BlopsDeclass was actually OK, but not amazing - and BL2 was meh only because it was a port, and poorly optimised), but Mercenary is brilliant. It also feels like more of a Killzone game than Shadowfall. It's cheap too.

      Last edited 23/02/15 8:26 am

        I even read that Mercenary is considered to be the best of the series.

    Haters be damned, I love my Vita. It's first 12-18 months were a bit of a trial, but it's come good for me. Still a little miffed about the 'has no games' mantra that haunts it. We're seeing a lot of JRPGs, and niche/indie titles making their way to the system these days. My backlog of Vita games is quite large. It's becoming a lot like the PSP in terms of it's library, which is precisely what I wanted.

    But if all you want is big budget Western games though, I think you'll be largely disappointed. Although I honestly don't feel that's what it's best suited for anyway.

    EDIT: I digress - I want them to make another handheld eventually, but honestly don't think the landscape would allow it in the future.

    Last edited 23/02/15 8:36 am

    I just got a Vita and I've already finished two games for it. I love it. I'm looking forward to the new Saga RPG and Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

Join the discussion!